May 27, 1813 - The Battle/Capture of Fort George

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May 27, 1813 - The Battle/Capture of Fort George

Post by pud » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:56 pm

Source: The Documentary History Of The Campaign upon the Niagara Frontier In The Year 1813. Part 1, January to June, 1813. Lt.-Col. E. Cruikshank. Printed at the Tribune Office, Welland. 1902. pp. 250 – 254

"Major-General Dearborn to Governor Tompkins.

May 27, 1813.

We took possession of Fort George and its immediate dependencies this day. Our loss does not exceed 30 killed and 45 wounded. We have ascertained that the enemy had upwards of 70 killed and above 150 wounded. We made upwards of 100 prisoners. We had only one officer killed, Lt. Hobart, my grandson. We have much more to do. Our troops behaved like brave old soldiers.,…"

"Brigadier-General Vincent to Sir George Prevost.

FORTY MILE CREEK, May 28, 1813.

SIR,-I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that yesterday morning about daybreak the enemy again opened his batteries upon Fort George. The fire not being immediately returned, it ceased for some time. About 4 o'clock a.m . A combination of circumstances led to a belief that an invitation was meditated. The morning being exceedingly hazy neither his means nor his intention could be ascertained until the mist, clearing away at intervals, the enemy's fleet, consisting of 14 or 15 vessels, was discovered under way standing towards the lighthouse in an extended line of more than 2 miles, covering from 90 to 100 large boats and scows, each containing an average of 50 or 60 men. Though at this time no doubt could be entertained of the enemy's intention his points of attack could only be conjectured. Having again commenced a heavy fire from his Fort, line of batteries and shipping, it became necessary to withdraw all the guards and piquets stationed along the coast between the Fort and the lighthouse, and a landing was effected on the Two Mile Creek, about half a mile below the latter place. The party of troops and Indians stationed at this point, after opposing the enemy and unknown him as long as possible, were obliged to fall back, and the fire from the shipping so completely and enfiladed and scoured the plains that it became impossible to approach the beach. As the day donned the enemy's plan was clearly developed, and every effort to oppose his landing having failed I lost not a moment in concentrating my force and taking up a position between the town, Fort George and the enemy, there awaiting his approach. This movement was admirably covered by the Glengarry Light Infantry, joined by a detachment of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and militia, which commenced skirmishing with the enemy's riflemen, who were advancing through the brushwood. The enemy having perfect command of the beach, quickly landed from 3 to 4000 men with several pieces of artillery, and this force was instantly seen advancing in three solid columns along the lake bank, his right covered by a large body of riflemen and his left and front by the fire of the shipping and batteries in their fort. As our light troops fell back upon the main body, which was moved forwards to their support, they were gallantly sustained by the 8th (Kings) Regiment, commanded by Major Ogilvie, the whole being under the immediate direction of Colonel Myers, Acting Quartermaster-General, who had charge of the right wing. In the execution of this important duty, gallantry, zeal and decision were eminently conspicuous, and, I regret to report, that I was deprived of the services of Colonel Myers, who, having received three wounds, was obliged to quit the field. Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey, the Deputy Adjutant General, whose activity and I gallantry had been displayed the whole morning, succeeded Colonel Myers and brought up the right division, consisting of the 49th Regiment and some militia.

The light artillery under Major Holcroft were already in position, awaiting the enemy's advance on the plain. At this moment the very inferior force under my command had experienced a severe loss in officers and men, yet nothing could exceed the ardor and I gallantry of the troops, who showed the most marked devotion in the service of their King and country, and appeared regardless of the consequence of the unequal contest. Being on the spot and seeing that the force under my command was opposed with ten-fold numbers, who were rapidly advancing under cover of their shipping and batteries, from which our positions were immediately seen and exposed to a tremendous fire of shot and shells, I decided on retiring my little force to a position which I hoped would be less assailable by the heavy ordinance of the enemy and from which a retreat would be left open in the event of that measure becoming necessary. Here, after awaiting the approach of the enemy for about an hour, I received authentic information that his force, consisting of from 4 to 5000 men, had reformed its columns and was making an effort to turn my right flank. At this critical juncture not a moment was to be lost, and, sensible that every effort had been made by the officers and men under my command to maintain the post of Fort George, I could not consider myself as justified in continuing so unequal a contest, which promised no advantage to the interests of His Majesty's service. Having given orders for the fort to be evacuated, the guns to be spiked and the ammunition destroyed, the troops under my command were put in motion and marched across the country in a line parallel to the Niagara river, towards the position near the Beaver Dams beyond Queenston mountain, at which place I had the honor of reporting to Your Excellency that a depot of provisions and ammunition had been formed some time since. The rear guard of the army reached that position during the night, and we were soon afterwards joined by Lieutenant-Colonel Bisshopp with all the detachments from Chippawa to Fort Erie. The light and one battalion company of the 8th, (Kings,) joined us about the same time as did Captain Barclay with a detachment of the Royal Navy.

Having assembled a my whole force the following morning, which did not exceed 1600 men, I continued my march towards the head of the lake, where it is my intention to take a position, and shall endeavor to maintain it until I may be honored with Your Excellency's instructions, which I feel most anxious to receive. I beg leave to suggest the great importance that exists for communication being opened with me through the medium of the fleet. The anchorage under Mrs. Brandt's house is perfectly good and very safe. I believe Your Excellency need not be informed that in the event of it becoming necessary that I should fall back upon York, the assistance of shipping would be requisite for the transport of my artillery. I cannot conclude this long communication without expressing a well-merited tribute of approbation to the gallantry and assiduity of every officer of the staff, and indeed of every individual composing my little army. Every one most zealously discharged the duties of his respective station. The struggle on the 27th continued from three to four hours, and, I lament to add, it was attended with very severe loss.

I have the honor to enclose a list of the killed, wounded and missing, with as much accuracy as the nature of existing circumstances will admit. Many of the missing I hope will be found to be only stragglers, and will soon rejoin their corps. I shall reach the head of the lake tomorrow evening. Hitherto the enemy has not attempted to interrupt my movements. Information reached me this morning through an authentic channel that he has pushed on 3000 infantry and a considerable body of cavalry towards Queenston. His whole force is stated to amount to nearly 10,000 men, [and I cannot conceal from Your Excellency my conviction that unless some disaster attends their progress this force will daily increase. My sentiments respecting the militia are already known, and it will not be supposed that their attachment to our cause can be very steady under the peculiar complexion of the present times.]

P.S. -I send this dispatch by Mr. Matheson, who acted as a volunteer on the 27th, and I am happy to inform Your Excellency that his conduct was very honorable to his character and merits my marked approbation. Ammunition will be wanting by the first vessel. Captain Milnes has been kind enough to remain with me until my next despatch."

"Return of Killed, Wounded and Missing of His Majesty's Troops in Action with the Enemy at Fort George, May the 27th, 1813.

General Staff-1 wounded
Royal Artillery- 1 rank and file killed; 1 rank and file wounded.
8th or Kings Regiment – 1 Lieutenant killed; 1 Major, 3 lieutenants, 1 ensign wounded; 11 sergeants, 4 drummers, 181 rank and file missing.
41st Regiment – 3 rank and file wounded and missing.
49th Regiment – 2 rank and file killed; 2 rank and file wounded; 4 drummers, 28 rank and file wounded and missing.
Left in hospitals and wounded on formal occasions - 16 rank and file, not included.
Glengarry Regiment – 1 Captain, 1 ensign, 1 Sergeant, 24 rank and file killed; 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 sergeants, 20 rank and file wounded; 1 Lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 23 rank and file wounded and missing.
Royal Newfoundland Regiment - 21 rank and file killed; 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 1 Sergeant, 6 rank and file wounded; 5 rank and file wounded and missing.,…

,… Names of officers killed and wounded:
Killed-8th or Kings Regiment-Lieutenant James Drummie.
Glengarry Regiment - Captain Liddle, Ensign McLean.,…

Wounded - ,… Glengarry Regiment - Captain Roxborough, Lieutenant Kerr, Ensign Kerr."

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